Clinging to a two-point lead, Bellarmine Prep boys’ basketball coach Bernie Salazar could finally breathe easy after sophomore wing Malik Montoya’s 3-point offering for Federal Way bounced long off the back of the rim.
Lions point guard Isaiah Flynn chased down the rebound, and hurled the ball into the backcourt as time expired.
The No. 10 Lions (15-7) survived yet another nail biter, earning a 48-46 win over the No. 6 Eagles (19-4) at Mount Tahoma High School on Friday.
With the win, the Lions moved on to the Class 4A West Central District semifinals, and punched their ticket to regional round of the state tournament.
Bellarmine Prep faces Todd Beamer at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday in the WCD semifinals. Federal Way plays Auburn in a loser-out game.
The Lions had trouble with Federal Way’s pressure defense, turning the ball over 18 times. However, Bellarmine Prep still showed enough poise late in the game to hang onto the win, making 6 of 9 free throws in the final quarter.
The key for the Lions was a third-quarter surge that gave them some breathing room in close game. Guards Carson Hollyoak and Flynn combined to drain four, 3-pointers in the third period, giving Bellarmine Prep a 38-31 cushion at the end of three quarters.
“Big shots,” Salazar said. “Carson hit one, and then Isaiah hit one, and that gave us a little cushion. And it was just enough.”
The Eagles shot just 1 of 10 from the field in the third quarter.